A handy root in science class, we tell the children it means "many."
Political. Many bloodsucking parasites.
Polygon. Many sides.
Polyester. Many compounds.
Polyurethane. Many chemicals.
Polygamy. Many lovers.
I have never wanted to be one of the many. Strived, in fact, to stand out. To be an individual, in spite of the nagging feeling that taps assimilate! into my back like morse code. I have trained myself to be an original creation: the only one who is exactly like me. When it comes to love, I know it sometimes takes me a while to feel comfortable being my whole-self. In fact, I have spent years and intimacies with people who will never know all of me. I often wonder if my "all" is lovable and, instead, am able to highlight what a specific person might need.
I struggle with this idea of "best." As a child, I thought that, if I was the best, I had to be the only one. I can count the number of best friends I've had on one hand. Each best friend I quickly took a certain amount of ownership of. Especially in elementary school, where they were either my friend or someone else's. My friend. All encompassing. Overwhelming. All. Mine.
I'd like to think I've gotten better about sharing. Years of adolescence taught me that the words in Barney songs really were instructional. I am inherently competitive. Not with other women, per say, but with all people as a whole. I foster that competitive nature by telling myself that I'm just being the best version of myself. Isn't that, after all, the goal of every person? My experiences have instilled in me this idea that we are hardly enough of anything. Hardly-enough-safe. Hardly-enough-happy. Hardly-enough-person, for ourselves--but probably more for other people. For the poly.
Culturally, we are told to function in the name of the poly. How will people perceive us? Specifically the people who interest us. Somewhere between growth-spurts and cup-sizes, girls inadvertently go from do-or-die-lady-squads to something inherently more catty. Maybe we would be less-catty if we didn't feel like we had things to protect. Moms say they have eyes in the back of their heads for spotting their children but these days, those eyes are more for catching infidelities; for protecting what is theirs.
So we, in essence, have two options: to accept that we are part of a community of people that matter for different reasons. Accept the microcosm of love and, like friends, have different people in the same life to satisfy different parts of our psyche. Because, maybe, one individual really isn't meant to fulfill all of a person's needs. Or you opt for something more "romantic." Ignore ticking clocks and televisions reminding you that partnership is the goal; white picket fences, giggling babies, 50th wedding anniversaries. Breathe and wait. Remove your heart from frivolity and release expectations. At least for now.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.